Sylvester Phelan is a well known shop owner and business man around the area of Stradbally.
But for those who are once a year pilgrims to the Electric Picnic, his shop, the Grand Stand, will be the first port of call for a good hangover cure.
From tea and coffee, to water and power packs, Sylvester has got you covered when it comes to Electric Picnic essentials, and he has let us have a peek into what the festival means to him.
1. What is your involvement/relationship with the Electric Picnic?
I have no direct involvement with Electric Picnic, but I operate a convenience store adjacent to the VIP entrance at Main Street Stradbally.
2. What’s your earliest Electric Picnic memory?
My earliest memory of Electric Picnic is of the first concert, when concert goers were allowed onto the street. I remember the street thronged with people at four in the morning.
3. What’s your favorite part about the Picnic?
My favourite part of the Picnic is the undeniable happy vibe about the place over the three days.
4. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen/experienced at the Picnic, and in your shop?
There are many unusual things about Electric Picnic, I guess that’s what makes it special. At our location, at the artists’ entrance, we meet lots of celebrities, who generally appear very unlike themselves after hours of partying and even sometimes after being drenched in the rain.
5. Describe your typical Electric Picnic weekend?
We have established relationships over the years with transport companies who need lunches and food at short notice, servicing drivers and staff, so typically we are responding to customers who we are very glad to see again.
6. What one thing would you change about the Picnic if you could?
What would I change? I should admit to actively campaigning to get punters onto the street. From the business perspective, shops need customers. Electric Picnic is wonderful but the business is transacted mainly within the concert grounds. I will continue to push for more pedestrian traffic and more exits for customers.
7. What are you most looking forward to this year?
I’m most looking forward to meeting perennial friends, some of them celebs, always good to catch up.
8. What’s the best act you’ve ever seen at the Picnic?
The best act I’ve seen has to be ‘Madness’ – showing my age now!
9. Who’s the most famous person you’ve come across at the Picnic and the most famous to visit your shop?
We’ve too many celebrities to mention. Typically most of RTÉ turns up in the shop. Jerry Fish says he loves our food. Our friend Gavin Duffy, of Dragons Den, often appears. One or two ‘A’ listers who visit from Ballyfin Demesne like to remain anonymous.
10. What flies off the shelves in the shop over the course of the weekend?
Biggest sellers in the shop are water, coffee, tobacco and sandwiches.
11. As a local businessman, what does an event of this scale mean to the town of Stradbally?
Electric Picnic means a lot to the town of Stradbally. But, one must remember that, undoubtably Stradbally means a lot to Electric Picnic too. I’m delighted for the success of the event, and particularly for my neighbours, The Cosby Family.
However, local businesses must fund exorbitant commercial rates and prohibitive employers costs. I believe local businesses must be acknowledged and accommodated. Businesses are the life-blood of the town.
12. If there was one bit of advice you would give to any rookie Picnic goer, what would it be?
Bring plenty of money!
SEE ALSO – Electric Picnic and I: Meet the two men who were first through the gates in 2004